Meet the charity turning an abandoned industrial relic into a vital service

Warrington Guardian: Adam Portwood, Shaun Millington, Chris Worth and Phil Roberts get to work on a new horticultural project at the Walton Lea Project Adam Portwood, Shaun Millington, Chris Worth and Phil Roberts get to work on a new horticultural project at the Walton Lea Project

EACH month the Warrington Guardian will be highlighting the work of a local charity which makes a difference to the community.

This month we are featuring the Walton Lea Project in Walton.

TURNING an abandoned relic of Warrington’s industrial history into a thriving volunteer led charity would surely please the site’s former owner.

The Chester Road site of the former home of George Crosfield - with little more than the walled kitchen garden remaining - has been transformed in the past 16 years as the base for the Walton Lea Project.

Its vast garden space proved the inspiration for the charity which works with adults with learning disabilities, mental health problems, mobility issues and early onset Alzheimer’s.

The Walton Lea Project first opening in 1998 with the idea to train and employ people with learning disabilities in horticulture.

Its first shoots came from discussions between Warrington Community Transport and the supported learning department of Warrington Collegiate.

The overgrown gardens, left after the Youth Offending Team programme stopped using the site in the early 90s, were still owned by Warrington Borough Council and offered a base for the scheme.

Thanks to National Lottery funding the project opened its doors in 1998 with the help of volunteers.

Kate Fitch, from the project, said: “We have some very kind volunteers then and now who give their time to help out in whatever way they can.”

Now the centre offers training and employment for more than 80 adults and demand for places is greater than those available.

Steve Perry, a support worker who also volunteers at the project, said: “It’s really vital for the people who come here and without it many people who use the project would be sat at home. They have a social life here and I always make sure they enjoy it.”

And with its expansion - including taking on a site for its sister group the Long Lane project - it has seen the project grow bloom from horticultural based schemes to others including flower arranging, upcycling furniture and woodwork.

NEXT week we meet the people who give up their own time to help to keep the project running.

Comments (2)

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4:32pm Thu 6 Mar 14

GRUMPY PARENT says...

A shame this can't (at the moment) expand and get more people involved it's great for the workers, community and a huge benefit to these heritage sites which would normally just be left to ruin. Great work people and good luck in your future projects.
A shame this can't (at the moment) expand and get more people involved it's great for the workers, community and a huge benefit to these heritage sites which would normally just be left to ruin. Great work people and good luck in your future projects. GRUMPY PARENT
  • Score: 4

4:45pm Thu 6 Mar 14

Karlar says...

GRUMPY PARENT wrote:
A shame this can't (at the moment) expand and get more people involved it's great for the workers, community and a huge benefit to these heritage sites which would normally just be left to ruin. Great work people and good luck in your future projects.
Seconded, You're not as grumpy as people would have us believe after all.
[quote][p][bold]GRUMPY PARENT[/bold] wrote: A shame this can't (at the moment) expand and get more people involved it's great for the workers, community and a huge benefit to these heritage sites which would normally just be left to ruin. Great work people and good luck in your future projects.[/p][/quote]Seconded, You're not as grumpy as people would have us believe after all. Karlar
  • Score: 1

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